3D Scanning

A 3D scanner is a device that analyses a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape and possibly its appearance (e.g. color). The collected data can then be used to construct digital 3D models. Scanning will not produce an exact copy, but a very close copy (can be up to 1 mm off). If precision is necessary, then designing your object in a CAD program is highly recommended.

We currently use two types of of 3D scanners depending on the object —

Hand-Held – Optimum for scanning larger objects, such as people, furniture, sculptures and buildings. Scanning time varies depending on lighting and the size of the object. Example: To scan a person’s head and shoulders (to make a bust) in a well-lit area, it can take up to 10 minutes for a full scan. This type of scanner is not optimum for objects under 10″. Our current scanner can scan in high resolution mode with the accuracy of 0.05 mm (50 microns) and low resolution mode with an accuracy of 0.1mm (100 microns). For these scans, we charge $50/hour.

Turntable Style – Optimum for scanning objects between 6″ diameter and 4″ and 8″ tall.  The object is placed on the scanner and is slowly rotated as the scanner records the surface information.This type of scanner is only accurate up to 0.04mm (40 microns) of detail. We charge $50/scan. In some cases, we have to do multiple scans from different angles (i.e. scan the object, then rotate the object onto its side and scan again) most scanning projects do not require more than 3 scans.

3D Scanning is Perfect For

Objects with the following characteristics generally scan well: continuous surfaces with smooth curvature; varying color or texture; matte, non-shiny surfaces; opaque finishes.

3D scanning is great for 3D capture of the human form; fabrics; stone and masonry; wood carvings; sculptures; plants, flowers and other organic objects.

3D Scanning is NOT Perfect For

3D Objects with certain characteristics may not be suitable for scanning, or may require technical workarounds to capture scans successfully. Here’s some further guidance on where scanning might not be suitable:

  • Objects with many cavities or protrusions: the scanner can only image what it ‘sees’ from its view point and cannot capture part of an object that is hidden behind another.
  • Very dark objects: the object will absorb light which lowers the amount of detail (we can add a wipeable powder or markers to aid in scanning).
  • Mono-color objects: with no texture, which do not provide surface information for the scanner to work effectively (we can add alignment markers to aid in scanning).
  • Reflective or shiny objects: where light reflects off the surface to prevent accurate surface measurement (we can add a wipeable powder to temporarily dull the reflectiveness of an object).
  • Transparent objects: if light transmits through the surface, it will prevent accurate surface measurement (a coating of wipeable powder may make the object scannable).
  • Objects with sharp edges and corners: scanners tend to smooth flat surfaces and sharp corners.
  • Precision Parts: multiple pieces that must fit or work together.

3D People Scans

We can do full body scans, bust scans (shoulders and  head), or  just scan your head and add to another object, such as a poseable action figure. Scans of people take 10-15 minutes to complete. Multiple scans may be necessary. Scans are in full-color, but if you are opting for us to 3D print the scan, the figure would be a single color, that could be hand-painted.

We can add a scanned head to male or female 3D printed poseable action figure. This figure at 12″ size fits most 1/6 scale clothes. The figure can be printed up to 24″ tall.

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